2008 CrossFit Games Champion Jason Khalipa is already a legend in the fitness community, and while he’s proven himself as one of the world’s top fitness athletes, the past year has brought his family new series of challenges. Early this year, Khalipa’s daughter Ava was diagnosed with leukemia, and while her prognosis is good, treatment involves multiple years of chemotherapy. Khalipa has shown admirable poise in facing these challenges head-on while he continues to expand his business — NC Fit — to multiple countries and continents.

Somehow, Khalipa has found the time to recently take up a new sport: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In an Instagram post that surprised many in the fitness community, Khalipa announced he had not only entered his first BJJ tournament, but taken first in his division.

He also announced his intentions to return to CrossFit competition beginning with the 2017 Games season. Khalipa most recently competed as part of the NorCal CrossFit team at the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games and sat out of competition this year in order to concentrate on supporting his daughter during treatment.

Really cool experience tonight at my first BJJ competition. Thankful to have finished 1st in my division “adult 208lb” (tough matches). Big thank you to @ashleykhalipa for always supporting me unconditionally. 2017 CrossFit Games season is next.

A photo posted by Jason Khalipa (@jasonkhalipa) on

While Khalipa’s fitness was never in doubt, the victory shows an impressive transfer of skills into the grappling sport.

Khalipa’s post received an outpouring of support from fans and fellow elite athletes alike. Instagram user @latinofuerte had the following words of encouragement for the three-time CrossFit Games podium finisher.

I’ve been following since starting my #Crossfit journey and absolutely love that you started training #bjj. I’ve been doing it since 2006 and think the two sports go really well together. Thank you for showing other crossfitters that it’s okay to go out and try new sports. Hope to see more of these photos of you kicking butt in BJJ

We’re excited to see Khalipa’s growth in BJJ — but his potential return to CrossFit competition in 2017 has got us truly amped.

Featured image: @jasonkhalipa on Instagram

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